Men at Work in Salzburg’s Old Town 

Travel provides so many opportunities for cultural insights. It’s easy to find them via the historic, artistic, and culinary experiences that most people encounter. But how much do you pay attention to the stuff of everyday life in a town you’re visiting? Let yourself be mesmerized—like I recently was in Salzburg’s Altstad, or Old Town—by…

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Rome by the Dozen: 12 Images of The Eternal City

Anyone who’s ever been to Rome knows that it’s impossible to contain all of its magnificence in a handful of photos, but that doesn’t stop most travelers from trying. There are (quite literally) millennia of things to see, explore, taste, and experience in this city that was once the center of the largest empire in…

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Italian Experiences with Rick Steves

It’s been more than Rick Steves has led one of our Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, but you’d never know it. His enthusiasm, energy, stamina, knowledge, and love of Europe seems only to have increased with those passing years.  Along with 28 happy tour members, my guide colleague Ben Cameron and I (we’re Rick’s assistants on…

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The Dynamite Dolomites: Easy to Access, Easy to Love

I’m not what one would call an outdoorsy kind of person, and no one ever mistook me for a Birkenstock-wearing “granola girl,” but I sure do love hiking in the Alps. Our outdoor-loving and nature-respecting European counterparts make getting there so easy. From well-groomed trails and mountain huts to clear signage and industrial-strength cable lifts,…

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Are You Gonna Go My Way?

  Not all travelers are created equal. Whether you’re a bold adventurer, culture vulture, foodie fanatic , history buff, or nature-lover, how you travel can be as important as why you travel and where you go. As an avid travel and tour guide, I know that incorporating our personal passions—and even our individual idiosyncrasies—into our travels…

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It’s All German (and Turkish) to Me

One of my linguistics professors once said to me, “Language is culture.” He didn’t mean that it’s a part of one’s culture but that it both encompasses and permeates the culture. It defines—and is defined by— it. And whenever I travel, discovering the quirky phrases that make a culture tick helps me to get inside the…

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Germany

Confession time: I’m a last-minute packer, sometimes finishing up just hours before a flight. Fortunately, I pack so often that I’ve got my incomprehensible-to-most system down pat. On most trips, procrastination serves as stimulus to “get ‘er done.” Rare is it that something needed is forgotten at home. I get to the airport with sufficient…

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Bienvenido a Havana: Cuba at First Glance

Weary from 14 hours of travel (in the middle seat of three different airplanes from Seattle to Mexico City to Havana), my body longed for a simple bed to sleep in, but my mind was awhirl with anticipation of a trip of a lifetime. Rick, his son Andy, his daughter Jackie, and I were Cuba-bound,…

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